Tennessee Church Reaches Community With ‘Loving God, Loving Others’ Event

Completing one of the many service projects at this year’s ‘Loving God, Loving Others’ event were (first row, from left) Samuel Evans, Sandy Clapp, Carol Gravett, Amy Byrd; and (back row from left) Dwayne Smith, Steve Clapp, Don Brown and Gay Brown.

Allen Guyer, pastor of Riverview Baptist Church in Savannah, Tenn., believes that a church should be more than just a “holy huddle” that gathers on Sundays.

The Riverview members obviously support that notion wholeheartedly.

The church recently hosted its second annual “Loving God, Loving Others Day” — a ministry in which church members perform a series of service projects and other acts of kindness throughout the community.

The Riverview congregation fully embraced the project, with 140 people — from the church’s roughly 200 regular Sunday attendees — participating in the ministry.

“For us to have an event where about 70 percent of the church participates is really exciting,” said Guyer. “We are not a large church, necessarily, but our folks have really bought into the idea that if we love God, then it’s going to flow out in expressions of love for others.”

Sharing the Gospel is at the heart of each project, and the ministry resulted in six professions of faith this year.

“To God be the glory,” said Guyer. “That’s what we want this (ministry) to be about. We believe that this was our chance to get outside the walls of the church and let people know that we love them and that God loves them.”

Guyer noted that the idea for the “Loving God, Loving Others” ministry started to take shape about three years ago when the church hosted an Emergency Personnel Appreciation Day to honor police, firemen, EMTs, dispatchers, and others. The church provided a meal for the emergency personnel and gave them a gift bag.

“Our people really got behind it, so we decided we wanted to springboard off that,” said Guyer. “We started thinking about ways we could impact even more people, and we had the vision to expand on what we’d done with that.”

Guyer said that around that same time, he heard a message from Steve Gaines, who was preaching from Jeremiah 29:7about seeking “the peace and prosperity of the city.” Guyer said he took the message to heart, and soon put together a leadership team — chaired by Riverview member Jeanie Majors — to coordinate the first “Loving God, Loving Others Day” in 2018. Associate pastor Brent Colley has played a key role in spearheading the project.

The church completed 12 service projects in the inaugural year of the ministry, and this year, the list increased to 14.

“One of the things that makes this so successful is that we try to provide a wide range of projects so that everyone can find something that suits their strengths,” said Guyer. “It was wonderful to see our children, teenagers, young adults and senior adults participate in this. It was the whole gamut.”

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Source: Baptist Press